Thursday, July 10, 2008

7/15/08 Japanese Soccer!

Last weekend Tung and went to a professional soccer game with a Japanese friend of ours. The game was held in the Urawa area, and featured the Urawa Red Diamonds versus Tokyo F.C.. The Reds are one of the best teams in the the J-League, and there was a great fan turnout. The venue was the seemingly new Saitama Stadium, which actually hosted some matches in the 2002 Fifa World Cup.

Me and my souvenir.

My soccer match experience is limited to Japan, so I don't have anything to compare the game or the atmosphere with. Entry was much like it is to any stadium. We waited in line a bit to get tickets pretty close to kick-off, and were punished for our lateness: our seats were exactly one row from the top. The stadium was pretty normal but concessions were a bit weak. I couldn't find anything warm for sale, just chips and things.

The thing that was the most impressive would be the crowd I think. The section of seating directing behind one goal was completed packed with red shirts. They cheered long and hard. But the organization of it all was the neat part. In the center of the masses seemed to be the ring leaders of it all. They chose what cheers to do and when, and directed everyone to do their bidding with drums and maybe some other instruments. The crowd was largely quiet while they waited for instructions. Pretty cool. We were laughing because we couldn't understand what the chants were saying. For instance, in Japanese English, "Reds" has two syllables, RE and sort of a DZUU sound.

Some Cheering.

Another amusing thing was the flags that people were waving around to cheer with. They seemed to have brought any fabric with Red, Black, and/or White on it. I spotted at least two US Confederate flags, one or two Che Guevaras, a couple of Iranian flags, and a Japanese battle flag colored black and red. Quite the alliance.

Tokyo F.C. had its own fan section, understandably smaller but well led by blue wearing cheer masters of their own. It was located on the opposite end of the stadium. There were a few empty rows of seats separating them from everyone else, apparently to keep the red shirts from killing them. Plastic fence and security guards enforced the peace. I was surprised that they would take such precautions in Japan.

The Reds won the day, with a 2-0 score at the end of the game. Hurray! I found a little sports news blurb here.


  1. It looks like it was a blast!

  2. That cool you went to a soccer match. It is amazing how popular soccer has become in Japan. It looks like the way it's going, it could eclipse baseball as the top sport in Japan if it hasn't done so already.

    From what I have seen, the matches have more energy then the soccer matches here in the US. And the skill level looks pretty good too.

  3. I guess we can go to a soccer game in Colombia next time! So you will be able to compare hehe. We wouldn't wait for anyone to give us directions though hehe. Ah.. and the cheers would sound like.. Oheee oheee oheee oheeee! Spanish sound. I'm glad you had fun!

  4. I have heard that soccer is giving baseball some strong competition in Japan. Seeing a Japanese baseball game is still lingering on my To-Do list. I gotta get out there!